Local church helps displaced storm victims find housing

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – It’s been more than a month since an EF-3 tornado ripped through the city of Columbus.

The deadly tornado damaged hundreds of homes.

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The devastation now has many organizations and churches stepping up to help residents restore what was lost, including the oldest church organization in the Friendly City.

“This church, we know that we want to be walking with people from the moment the storm hits to the moment that they’re back in their homes,” said Reverend Aislinn Kopp, Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Mission at First United Methodist Church. “We are committed to long-term recovery.”

First United Methodist Church is partnering with First United Methodist Committee on Relief to help people who were displaced find housing.

Kopp said they have case managers who meet with each individual to help them start the rebuilding process.

“The case managers get to know the individual and know what their needs are and how they were impacted by the storm,” Kopp explained. “The case managers can help find housing, they can help direct you to organizations, they can meet your specific needs.”

In order for someone to apply for the housing assistance, they must first register with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

Secondly, they must first provide proof that they need the financial assistance.

If you’re a renter, you must provide proof that you were renting the damaged property during the time of the tornado.

Lastly, if you’re a homeowner, you need proof of home ownership, or insurance, or prove that your home was too old to be insured.

“What better time for the church to be the church than when people are suffering,” Kopp expressed. “We know that it’s important to not just be the church for the people that worship inside these walls on Sunday mornings, but to be a church for our entire community.”

So far the church has helped two people settle into new homes.

Kopp said as long as there are people still in need of a place to stay, they’re going to continue being a life-line that people in the community can count on.

“This is part of our mission, to be the hands and feet of Christ,” she said.

First United Methodist Church will continue to be out in the community helping those who are displaced.

If anyone is in need of housing or know of someone in need, visit http://www.columbusfumc.org/under-construction/coming-soon.html

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